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The Pimple Captured

27 DEC 1943: Australia’s 7th Division captures 'The Pimple', Shaggy Ridge, New Guinea. The four-month battle for Shaggy Ridge culminated with the capture of this Japanese position on the ridge's summit. Shaggy Ridge is a six-and-a-half kilometre long razor-backed ridge that is the highest feature in the Finisterre Mountains in north-eastern New Guinea. The ridge rises between the valleys of the Mene and Faria Rivers and ends at Kankiryo Saddle - a bridge of land separating the Faria Vallyey from [...]

Hong Kong Falls

26 DEC 1941: Japanese forces officially capture Hong Kong. The tiny British colony on the Chinese coast, withstood a three-week siege by the Japanese. The Battle of Hong Kong (8–25 December 1941), also known as the Defence of Hong Kong or the Fall of Hong Kong, was one of the first battles of the Pacific War in World War II. On the same morning as the attack on Pearl Harbor, forces of the Empire of Japan attacked the British Crown [...]

Battle of Magdhaba

23 DEC 1916: Following on El Arish a couple of days ago in World War I, today commemorates the Battle of Magdhaba, in northern Sinai. The capture of Magdhaba by Chauvel's Mounted Brigade and the Imperial Camel Corps helped open the way for the successful Allied campaign in Palestine. This, from Australia’s Light Horse: On the morning of 21 December, Maurie Pearce wrote of how ‘the brigadier drew a cordon around the town and commenced searching the houses and inhabitants’. [...]

US Troops Arrive

22 DEC 1941: The first United States troops arrive in Australia. In World War II as part of the Pacific push, Australia soon became a major base for US forces in the war against Japan. They were warmly welcomed as representing a defence for Australia. At the beginning of World War II, most Australians still believed that their first loyalty outside Australia was to England. But by 1942, the fighting of a global war meant that even allies had [...]

El Arish Captured

21 DEC 1916: The Light Horse captures El Arish, abandoned by the Turks. Originally intended as an outpost for the defence of the Suez Canal, El Arish became one of the first steps in the Allied advance on Palestine - in the lead-up to the Battle of Magdhaba. At dawn on 20 December 1916, the 1st Brigade of the ANZAC Mounted Division (less the 2nd Brigade) reached the Mediterranean coast on the far side of El Arish and suddenly [...]

Conscription Defeated, Again

20 DEC 1917: In World War I today, the Second conscription referendum was held in Australia. With the AIF further weakened by the losses of 1917, PM W.M. (Billy) Hughes again asked Australians to vote for conscription for overseas service. The proposal was again defeated. At the outbreak of the First World War, the number of people volunteering to enlist for the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) was so high that recruitment officers were forced to turn people away. However, as [...]

Last Troops Leave Gallipoli

20 DEC 1915: In World War I today, the last Australian troops are evacuated from Gallipoli. The evacuation of the peninsula, largely planned by Brigadier General C.B.B. White, was a triumph of careful planning and bold execution. More than 8,700 Australians lost their lives over the eight month campaign, with more than 2,000 on the first day alone. On 7 December 1915, the British Cabinet agreed to the evacuation of Anzac Cove and Cape Suvla. However, local planning for the [...]

HMAS Sydney in Korea

19 DEC 1951: today in the Korean campaign, HMAS Sydney completes a tour of operations off Korea's west coast. Aircraft from Sydney left no operable railway lines in its area of operations, significantly disrupting enemy supply routes. Sydney commenced operations on 5 October 1951 under command of Captain D. H. Harries. On 11 October she flew a record 89 sorties, an effort bringing praise from American and British authorities, USS New Jersey stating that Sydney’s gunnery spotting was ‘the [...]

Arty Hill Captured

18 DEC 1944: It's the Pacific Campaign, OP Cherry Blossom and 'Arty' Hill, Bougainville, is captured. 'Arty Hill', as it was known, was captured by the Queensland 9th Battalion - the Moreton Regiment - and was a major Japanese position on the Numa Numa Trail leading across Bougainville. The Australians suffered just one defeat during the Bougainville campaign, at the Porton Plantation in the island’s northern sector. An amphibious landing on the night of 8–9 June 1945 went awry: the [...]

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